10 April 2017
TO THE PRESIDENT
TO MAKE AN INTERVENTION FOR
THE BENEFIT OF THE THREE FAMILIES SEEKING CLOSURE FROM THE LILY MINE ACCIDENT
As we begin the Holy Week, we stand in solidarity with the three families whose loved ones remain trapped underground at Lily mine in a lamp container that fell into a sinkhole.
The three families have been waiting in agony for more than one year without a closure on the matter. We find this to be ethically unacceptable.
We are of the view that the developments around the retrieval of the container with the three mine workers could have been treated differently, with a greater sense of urgency and effectiveness around resource mobilisation, if the three aggrieved families were from a rich and powerful family, and not from the poor working class. Although they are poor working class living at the margins of the society in Barberton, the pain of the three families should be considered to be the pain of the nation.
We therefore make an appeal to the president to make an intervention and ensure that the government contributes funds for the rescue operation of the container that involves sinking a decline shaft 500m from the original entrance. As requested by AMCU, this can be achieved effectively by the declaration of Lily mine accident as a national disaster.
It has been argued that the retrieval of the container is the legal responsibility of the Lily mine, and not of the government. We urge the president and the minister of mineral resources to view and handle the rescue operation of the container in terms of the ethical responsibilities of a caring government, and not solely in terms of legal responsibilities of Mimco (Makonjwaan Imperial Mining Company), the company which owns Lily Mine.
We also make an appeal to the investor community, especially the development finance organisations, to consider additional funding to the business rescue process and the retrieval of the container.
We continue to remind the government and the business sector that they all have an ethical responsibility to transform South Africa into a caring society. As their contribution to building a caring society, both the government and Lily mine should ensure that the retrieval of the container to secure closure for the three families is treated as a matter of social justice and national interest, and not solely as a business decision that is dependent on economic merit of the proposed shaft and the business rescue plan. In a caring society, people are more important than profit.
For more information:
Bishop Abel Gabuza.
Cell number: 0825494324
Phone number: 053 831 1861 or 053 831 1862.
Archbishop William Slattery
Cell number: 0834685473